Omang in Setswana language means National Identity Card which is something that claims who you are and where you live. The project aims to use the omang as a metaphor to tell the story of the Bushmen of Kalahari who are forced to live within boundaries established by the government of Botswana. The Bushmen have been living in the Kalahari Desert for 20.000 years. In 1961 the Government of Botswana established the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) to protect some Bushmen communities. At the beginning of the 80s the discovery of diamond mines inside the reserve led to the forced displacement of the Bushmen communities and to the dismantling of their homes, schools, hospitals and water supply. Nowadays most of the Bushmen live in the resettlement camps outside the CKGR. While the tourists can enter the reserve, the Bushmen are forbidden to access the CKGR and they can’t hunt and gather in their own land. A community of 3.000 Bushmen lives in New Xade, a resettlement camp placed about 40 kilometres outside the CKGR. Alcohol, HIV and unemployment are tearing them apart. Since 2002 the Bushmen took the Government to the Court to claim their right to come back to their ancestral land.
All the historical images are taken from the book Claim to the Country. The Archive of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd by Pippa Skotnes.